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The Sunday Salon: Let's Read Something Happy!

The Sunday Salon.comIn order to finish up the Spring Reading Thing 2009 Challenge (results posted soon), I had to read The Year of Magical Thinking and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close back-to-back in the last week and a half. Both were great books, but also emotionally draining books.

I finished ELAIC on Thursday night. About 50 pages from the end I started to get teary-eyed, and at about 10 pages to go I was full in crying. Boyfriend was here and, poor guy, he didn’t know what to do. Of course there wasn’t anything for him to do because it was good crying, crying from being emotionally touched by a story, but I can see why that would seem weird.

I got myself together a little bit after I finished the book, but then he asked me to explain what the book was about and I started to cry all over again. September 11 stuff and stuff with kids gets to me especially, so I’m actually not too surprised I got so emotional.  But as I was laying in bed later that night, I realized I’ve been reading a whole bunch of emotionally intense books right in row and maybe that’s taking a toll.

I think need to give myself a little break before heading back into some other heavy books I have on my TBR list. I don’t really want to read romances or anything, I just want something that doesn’t hit me so hard emotionally. I’m thinking some nonfiction, perhaps, might fit the bill. Thoughts?

What’s the most emotionally draining book you’ve read lately? Any suggestions for good books that are not so emotionally intense?

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  • Steph June 21, 2009, 3:29 pm

    I just finished reading “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene which is both emotionally and intellectually intense. It’s a great story and not even all that long, but yeah, talk about draining!

    As for lighter stuff, I always go for mysteries. Lately I’ve been enjoying Sherlock Holmes, which is fun and witty. Also, Jane Austen is also a sure bet! Have you read any Jasper Fforde before? If not, I highly recommend his books.

  • bermudaonion June 21, 2009, 3:35 pm

    The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan was emotionally draining for me. Sometimes something frivolous like James Patterson or Janet Evanovich are good when you need something light.

  • uenohama June 21, 2009, 3:40 pm

    If I want to read lighter stuff, or books I don’t really have to invest heavily in, I almost always choose a book from my childhood.

  • charley June 21, 2009, 4:18 pm

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was an emotionally difficult book for me to read, as well. I don’t remember actually crying, but I remember being able to read only a few pages at a time. The last book I remember crying happy tears over was Markus Zusak’s I Am the Messenger.

  • Teresa June 21, 2009, 4:39 pm

    I cried and cried after listening to the audiobook of On Chesil Beach. It just left me utterly wrecked. As for lighter reading, I agree with Steph that Austen is a good choice. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman is a lovely little book about books. And, in a completely different vein, Thank You for Smoking is great satire. I wouldn’t call it light exactly, but it had me laughing out loud at several points.

  • Lynn June 21, 2009, 5:03 pm

    I haven’t read anything emotionally draining in awhile (parenthood drains me enough). If I wanted something light, I’d go for fiction, but as I tried to think of nonfiction to recommend, I thought maybe of a book on the history of coffee? Maybe “Uncommon Grounds: the History of Coffee and How it Changed the World”? I haven’t read that one, but I read about half of The Devil’s Cup. Although I didn’t read the whole thing, I know others who loved it.

  • Lynn June 21, 2009, 5:04 pm

    And there’s always some Dave Barry…:)

  • Dani in NC June 21, 2009, 8:06 pm

    If you are looking for light non-fiction, you may want to try “The Dirt on Clean” by Katherine Ashenburg. It is a history of how people have cleaned their bodies through the ages. I’m reading it now, and I am finding the stories about Roman bath houses fascinating.

  • ksczub June 21, 2009, 8:09 pm

    “Stiff: The Curious Life of the Human Cadaver” is a hilarious non-fiction read.

  • Vasilly June 21, 2009, 10:05 pm

    Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud is a very draining read. I read it when it was first published and cried so hard. Annie Fadiman is a very fun writer, so is Nick Hornby. I don’t know if you read poetry but I’ve been dipping into Nikki Giovanni’s latest collection of poems, Bicycle: Love Poems, and it’s a really lovely book.

    Can’t wait to find out what you pick to read.

  • Jenny aka "Sister" June 21, 2009, 10:31 pm

    You should read the Sara Dessen book I gave you that is emotionally for me, but I have a feeling you are just going to roll your eyes at it and think it is silly so that could be a less emotional and difficult read 😉

  • Louise June 22, 2009, 3:02 pm

    I recommend Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster 🙂 A great read and not too draining or challenging.

    I read ELAIC a while ago, and I have to be honest – I wasn’t that crazy about it.

    It goes without saying that I am aware of 9-11, but the tragedy doesn’t affect me in the same emotional way as it does most of my American friends, and even though I desperately wanted to love the book, I found parts of it rather annoying. The writing style also ticked me mildly off.

    If you want to keep your reading in the same family, you could try Nicole Krauss’ History of Love. I read it rigth after finishing husband’s ELAIC, and again, it was a book I really wanted to love, but it didn’t quite ring my bells either. But a good rate and not as draining as ELAIC.

    Happy summer-reading!

  • Louise June 22, 2009, 3:03 pm

    PS. A good RATE??? What am I talking about? LOL. Of course I meant a good READ!

  • Michelle June 23, 2009, 1:35 am

    I just finished If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Actual sobbing happened.

  • Fyrefly June 23, 2009, 10:18 am

    Angels of Destruction wasn’t exactly emotionally draining, but was definitely emotionally affecting… I wound up feeling so lonely and sad and disconnected that I either had to go for a walk and snap myself out of it, or else I was going to curl up at the foot of my bed and not come out for months.

    When I need to be cheered up, I normally go either for a YA book, or something that I know is going to have a happy ending (or both). Maybe Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer would be a good palate cleanser? It’s historical fiction, pirates, funny as heck, got a hint of romance, and Jacky’s the kind of narrator who can’t help but lift you out of a funk.

  • Care June 24, 2009, 8:38 am

    I recommend a travelogue? I was amazed how restful my sailing book was – the author was excellent at creating a different world for me to escape into.